Monday, September 30, 2013

LINQ to SQL DataContext BeginTransaction

LINQ to SQL supports Transactions, but there is no method directly off of the DataContext to initialize one. Fortunately, that functionality is just a simple extension method away!

public static class DataContextExtensions
    public static IDbTransaction BeginTransaction(
        this DataContext dataContext, 
        IsolationLevel isolationLevel = IsolationLevel.Unspecified)
        if (dataContext.Connection.State != ConnectionState.Open)
        return dataContext.Transaction = dataContext.Connection
public class TransactionTests
    public void Example()
        using (var dataContext = new FutureSimpleDataContext())
        using (dataContext.BeginTransaction())
            // TODO: Stuff!
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Debug Minified JavaScript

I recently wrote a blog post about how to control minification per request. However, that strategy will not help you if the minification itself is causing a bug.

Fortunately Chrome has an absolutely amazing set of developer tools that can help you debug any script, even one that have been minified! Just follow these very simple steps:

  1. Navigate to the page in Chrome.
  2. Launch the developers tools (by pressing F12).
  3. Open the JavaScript file in the Sources tab.
  4. Activate the amazing "Pretty print" feature.
  5. Debug those scripts!

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

TypeScript on your Build Server

Last week I wrote about making your TypeScript files compile on save by updating your project files. It is an easy update to make, but then what happens when you check into source control? You are probably going to get an error because your build server can not resolve Microsoft.TypeScript.targets

Two ways to make TypeScript compile on your build server

  1. You can install TypeScript on your build server.

The big problem with this solution is that it means you have to install a specific version of TypeScript on your build server, and thus make all of your project depend on that single version.

  1. You can check the TypeScript compiler into Source Control.

This may seem like an odd solution, but for right now I feel that it is the best way to go. It allows all of your projects to be independent of each other, and you do not need to install anything new on any of your servers. (This solution has been proposed to the TypeScript team; thanks, josundt!)

How to Add TypeScript to Source Control

This may look like a lot of steps, but do not worry! All of these steps are small, simple, and they will only take you a minute or two. :)

  1. Create a TypeScript folder in the root of your solution folder.
  2. Create a SDKs folder inside of the TypeScript folder.
  3. Create a MSBuild folder inside of the TypeScript folder.
  4. Copy the contents of your TypeScript SDKs install (where the TypeScript compiler, tsc.exe, is located) to the TypeScript\SDKs folder that you have created.
    • By default, that will be located at:
      C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript
  5. Copy the contents of your TypeScript MSBuild folder (where your TypeScript target files are located) to the TypeScript\MSBuild folder that you have created.
    • By default, for Visual Studio 2012, that will be located at:
      C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v11.0\TypeScript
  6. Edit TypeScripts\MSBuild\Microsoft.TypeScript.targets to make the TscToolPath point to your local SDKs folder.
    • The original path would be:
      <TscToolPath Condition="'$(TscToolPath)' == ''">$(MSBuildProgramFiles32)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript</TscToolPath>
    • The new path should be:
      <TscToolPath Condition="'$(TscToolPath)' == ''">..\TypeScript\SDKs</TscToolPath>
  7. Open your project file for editing.
  8. Update your TypeScript project import to follow a relative path to the local folder.
    • The original path would be:
      <Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath32)\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v$(VisualStudioVersion)\TypeScript\Microsoft.TypeScript.targets" />
    • The new path should be:
      <Import Project="..\TypeScript\MSBuild\Microsoft.TypeScript.targets" />
  9. You're done! Reload your project and test it out; if that works, check it in.
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

How to Start Using TypeScript Today!

Here are several tips to get you started using TypeScript (currently on today!

Compile on Save

For fast development you MUST compile your TypeScript files on save. While this is not built into the current pre 1.0 release of TypeScript, it is still very easy to enable. There is a very simple article on CodePlex that provides you the exact XML configuration to add to your Project file to compile on save.


Here are some the simple steps to compile on save:

  1. Right click on your project in Solution Explorer and unload it.
  2. Rick click on your project file and open it for editing.
  3. Copy and paste the PropertyGroup and Import nodes from the link above.
  4. Save and close the project file.
  5. Right click and reload the project in solution explorer.
  6. Open the TypeScript Options
    • Tools -> Options -> Text Editor -> TypeScript -> Project -> General
  7. Check "Automatically compile TYpeScript files which are part of a project"
  8. Close the options menu, you are almost done!
  9. Open your TypeScript (.ts) file and save it...boom, it compiled on save. :)

Make Generated Files Dependent

Whenever you compile a TypeScript file it will generate a JavaScript file for you. However, as of .9, that JavaScript file will not be automatically included in your project. First, you should include those generated files in your project. Second, you should modify the project file to mark those generated fiels as being dependent upon their related TypeScript (.ts) file. This will ensure that no one accidentally modifies those files, and it will ensure that TFS automatically checks them out for edit before being regenerated.

<TypeScriptCompile Include="Scripts\jqueryExtensions.ts" />
<Content Include="Scripts\jqueryExtensions.js">

Here are some the simple steps to compile on save:

  1. Right click on your project in Solution Explorer and unload it.
  2. Open your project file in a text editor.
  3. Add a dependent node under the JavaScript file (see above for an example).
  4. Right click and reload the project in solution explorer.

Use a Master Definition File

Your TypeScript files require reference tags to include information about other TypeScript files. One of my favorite features of TypeScript is that the community builds definition files for other frameworks. However including multiple references in each file is a lot of work, and a bad idea in general.

I strongly suggest keeping one master definition that references all of your other definition files, and then your code files need only reference that one file inherit information regarding all of your code and dependencies.

Master Definition File

/// <reference path="jquery.d.ts" />
/// <reference path="jqueryui.d.ts" />
interface JQuery {
    alertOnClick(): JQuery;
interface JQueryStatic {
    stringFormat(format: string, ...args: Array<any>): string;

Normal Code File

/// <reference path="../Definitions/typeScriptDemo.d.ts" />
(function ($: JQueryStatic) {
    $.stringFormat = stringFormat;
    function stringFormat(format: string, ...args: Array<any>): string {
        return format.replace(/{(\d+)}/g, replaceFormat);
        function replaceFormat(match, index) {
            return typeof args[index] != 'undefined'
                ? args[index]
                : match;

Next week I'll talk about how to get your TypeScript compiling on Team Foundation Server.

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